UPDATE: Tim Hortons sent Huffington Post Canada revised information about the launch date of Roll Up The Rim after this story was published. The contest starts on Feb. 17, not Feb. 18, and we've updated this story.
The Olympics aren’t the only great competition Canadians have to look forward to this February; Tim Hortons’ beloved Roll up the Rim contest returns Feb. 17.
And while the company is keeping prizes under wraps until closer to the launch date, it’s probably safe to assume you or one of your Timmie’s loving friends will be treated to free coffee or doughnuts.
The odds of winning at least a coffee or doughnut were one-in-six last year.
Prizes in 2013 included 100 pre-paid MasterCards loaded with $5,000 each, 40 Toyota RAV4s, 1,000 Napoleon grills, 25,000 Tims gift cards worth $100 each, and 47 million food and beverage prizes.
Winning cups were distributed by a third party and scattered throughout the cup cases, which were randomly distributed in an attempt to ensure no one restaurant gets more winning cups than another.
The company says it audits the odds daily during the contest and those reports are monitored weekly to ensure the odds of winning something are always one-in-six. The odds of winning a car are about one in 6.5 million.
Related on HuffPost:
Do The Odds Change?
Are you more likely to win a Roll Up The Rim To Win prize if you buy a larger size drink? It’s a question on the minds of many frustrated small- and medium-size cup drinkers who, after countless coffees and teas, feel the <a href="http://forums.beyond.ca/showthread/t-121304.html" target="_hplink">one-in-six odds don’t seem to apply</a> to them. Tim Hortons says a categorical no, that prizes are distributed randomly across all cup sizes.
So we challenged members of our talented newsrooms to take part in a journalistically questionable, unreliable and completely unscientific experiment: We asked them to drink a load of coffee over a week and keep their cups. Sure, we knew the results would be skewed by all kinds of factors, beginning with the small sample size and ending with the fact that most cups were bought in Toronto. Still, the results were interesting:
38 Small Cups: 4 wins, 34 losses (10.5 per cent winners or one-in-9.5 odds)
18 Medium Cups: 3 wins, 15 losses (16.6 per cent winners or one-in-six odds)
18 Large Cups: 3 wins, 15 losses (16.6 per cent winners or one-in-six odds)
Extra Large Cups
18 Extra Large Cups: 5 wins; 13 losses (27.7 per cent winners or one-in-3.5 odds)
Roll up the Rim to Win: A History
Here are nine important, fun or just plain random facts about Tim Hortons’ Roll Up The Rim To Win Contest.
This is the guy who invented it
Ron Buist was the marketing director for Tim Hortons when the chain rolled out its first Roll up the Rim to Win contest. Buist says he came up with the idea because of cost constraints. The chain didn’t have enough money to make cups for a scratch-and-win contest, so he came up with the idea of rolling up the cup’s rim instead. "<a href="http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/2012/05/01/roll-up-the-rim-inventor-among-judges-at-may-12-bears-lair-finale">Like any invention, one person comes up with it, but it's the company that makes it work</a>," Buist said.
There's a novel about it
Giller Prize-nominated writer Leo MacKay Jr.’s novel <em>Roll up the Rim</em> is “<a href="http://www.indiegogo.com/rolluptherim">a comic tale of obsession, redemption, divine intervention, and Timbits</a>.” MacKay is selling the book directly, and depending on how much money you send him, you can get the book autographed, get a reading from the author via Skype, or even get an in-person reading. Now that’s dedication.
A hot commodity among thieves
Some retailers who carry Tim Hortons coffee have reported customers doubling or even tripling up on roll-up-the-rim cups. Some brazen wannabe winners are going so far as to take entire stacks of cups out of stores. Retailers have <a href="http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/25/thieves-stealing-roll-up-the-rim-cups">taken to hiding the cups behind the counter to keep people from stealing them</a>.
Dude, where’s my Toyota?
A winning Timmies cup became the centre of acrimony in 2006 when a 10-year-old Montreal girl found a cup in a garbage can. With the help of a 12-year-old friend, the girl discovered that the cup was a Toyota RAV4 winner. But the contest win turned into a battle between two families when the 12-year-old’s parents claimed the prize for their own. And the whole issue became even more complicated when a custodian at the girls’ school claimed he had thrown the cup away. In the end, <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2006/04/19/hortons-cup-060419.html">Timmies gave the car to the 10-year-old</a>, as the rules stipulate whoever hands in the cup wins the prize.
Timmies employees sneaking and peeking?
A Newfoundland man told the press in 2008 he suspected Timmies employees of sneaking and peeking at cups to suss out winners, then passing along the losing cups to customers. Bernard Delaney said he got a cup that looked like the rim had already been rolled up, and the cup, he said, even had teeth marks. Tim Hortons said <a href="http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2008/03/26/manufacturer-blamed-for-faulty-roll-up-rims-man-says-his-cup-looked-like-it-had-teeth-marks-on-it">a manufacturing problem was to blame for the cup</a>, and denied anyone had bitten into the cup or sneaked a look under the rim.
Environmentalists vs. Roll up the Rim
The Toronto Environmental Alliance criticized the Roll up the Rim contest in 2010, noting that disposable coffee cups of the sort Tim Hortons uses are wasteful and harmful to the environment. "A lot of resources go into making a coffee cup and too often they end up going into garbage. . . . it's a pretty significant waste of resources,” the group said. Tim Hortons <a href="http://www.lfpress.com/news/canada/2010/03/01/13076551.html">said they were looking into alternatives, but hadn’t found one yet that works</a>.
Tim Hortons took some criticism when it emerged in 2009 that <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2009/03/11/nb-tim-hortons-rims-629.html">your odds of winning are worse in some provinces than others</a>. CBC reported that, though 52.5 per cent of Roll up the Rim purchases took place in Canada’s largest province, Ontario only received 43 per cent of prizes. The best odds of winning were in British Columbia, where the odds of winning were nearly double that of Ontario.
Vancouver Island house painter Matthew de Jong walked into a Tim Hortons in 2009 and presented a winning cup for a Toyota Venza. A week later, the company <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/05/15/bc-roll-up-the-rim-fraud.html">informed de Jong he wouldn’t be getting his prize because his cup was a fake</a>. Tim Hortons even suggested it could bring charges against de Jong. But when the story hit the news, a 12-year-old girl who lived in the house de Jong was painting came forward to admit she had made a fake winning cup as part of an April Fools prank. Tim Hortons dropped the matter.
Bad for business??!!
In 2011, when Tim Hortons missed quarterly earnings projections, the company blamed the bad performance on “<a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/tim-hortons-blames-roll-up-the-rim/article591364/">significantly increased food and beverage prize redemptions</a>.” The company estimated Roll up the Rim had cut about a third off of same-store sales growth that quarter. But the company also noted that a coffee promotion at McDonald’s during that year’s Roll up the Rim may have cut into sales.